About a month ago, when NBA TV was showing re-runs of old drafts, I watched the ’05 version, best known as the year Atlanta passed on Chris Paul (and Deron Williams) in favor of Marvin Williams with the second overall pick. Not everyone thought Williams was a bad pick at the time, though. “When we look back years down the line,” said analyst Jay Bilas, “we could be saying Marvin Williams was THE player from this draft.”
Four years later, Marvin went into this summer as a restricted free agent — because the Hawks didn’t attempt to sign him to an extension — and wasn’t generating much buzz at all on the market until today, when he re-upped with Atlanta for a reported $40 million over five years.
While he isn’t seen as a future star anymore, I’m surprised Williams didn’t have more teams after him. Williams (13.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is a solid small forward who has improved every year he’s been in the League; he could start for a lot of teams in the League or be a good backup for a championship-caliber team. He missed a lot of time last season with a wrist injury, but is an important piece for the Hawks if they want to stay in the Eastern Conference contender picture.